Monday, March 3, 2014

Corporate America Vs. Food

I recently read this article about Trader Joe's and "What are they hiding?"  I encourage you to read this before reading my take on it.  (I'll wait.....)

So to recap the article, it basically talks of how Trader Joe's claims to be a 'healthier' choice for food shopping compared to other stores.  However some of their processed foods contain non-GMO ingredients and they do not monitor the GMO content of their foods on a regular basis.  (GMO stands for genetically modified organisms. In other words "genetically manipulated, altered or engineered". Cloning anyone?!?)
After reading this I felt really annoyed.  Not so much about Trader Joe's but for the misconception that many people have regarding food and where they get it.  The idea that if the store, label or manufacturer claim their food is "healthy", "natural", or "good for you" it MUST be.
The act of leaving the education and knowledge to the companies and not doing the work ourselves.
Don't get me wrong, I think it stinks that Corporate America is driven by the dollar and not by health.  But really, this what it comes down to.  Money over health. 
 Whether it's TJ's or Whole Foods. Even manufacturers who claim they are healthy or all natural have 'sold themselves out' to Corporate America.  Companies such as Kashi, Barbara's and Morningstar Farms. They are all motivated by the mighty dollar.
  WE, the common people, are in charge of our own health.
And did any of you pick up on the fact that the article was primarily talking about processed foods?  What has happened to simple food?  Whole food? (and I don't mean the retailer).  Whole food by definition :
  • whole food
  • [ hṓl foòd ]
  1. unprocessed food: food that has undergone very little processing and has been grown or produced without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers
Whole food doesn't come in a box or plastic package.  Really, it has it's own packaging such as a peel.  This may lead you to question the non-GMO growth of fruits and veggies.  True!  Again, we need to take control and educate ourselves.  How do we do this?  Here are a few of my suggestions:

1. Here's the list of the "Dirty Dozen".  Fruits and veggies that contain the highest level of pesticides.  When buying these foods, buy organic!

  • celery
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • domestic blueberries
  • nectarines
  • sweet bell peppers
  • spinach, kale and collard greens
  • cherries
  • potatoes
  • imported grapes
  • lettuce
2. Here's the list of the "Clean 15".  These foods have little to no traces of pesticides and are ok to purchase non organic.
  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • mango
  • sweet peas
  • asparagus
  • kiwi fruit
  • cabbage
  • eggplant
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • grapefruit
  • sweet potatoes
  • sweet onions.

  • READ LABLES!  Avoid food additives, as much as possible, such as: partially hydrogenated oils, aspartame, MSG (monosodium glutamate), hydrolyzed vegetable protein, BHA (butylated hydroxytoluene), Acesulfame potassium, BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), potassium bromate, sodium nitrate and nitrite, propyl gallate, sodium benzoate, artificial colors.
    (MSG is most commonly found in jarred spaghetti sauce, soy sauce, canned soups and teriyaki sauce, just to name a few. and Sodium nitrates/nitrites are found it curred meats such as bacon.  Purchase meats that are free of these.  It will contain natural nitrates/nitrites from celery root.)

    Holy moly that's quite the list isn't it.  Basically if you can't pronounce it, don't eat it!

    SHOP THE PERIMETER OF FOOD STORES. This is the produce, dairy, deli and seafood sections.  When you have to shop the middle, make sure you READ THE LABLES! ;)

    GROW YOUR OWN FOOD if you are able to.  You don't need a lot of space to grow some of your favorites, many can be grown in containers on a patio or deck!  However, if you feel the task is too daunting, consider supporting a CSA (community supported agriculture) or shop your local farmers market.

    I personally like shopping at TJ's! But I'm not naïve. You can buy or eat healthy anywhere.  You just need to be in charge of what you're eating and buying.  To do this is to educate yourself and never, ever settle mediocrity.  You're health and family deserve it!


    1 comment:

    1. I saw this article as well and thought about the fact that we have to really know the companies and products we are buying, it can be exhausting!!! But, education and knowledge is power!!! This is a wonderful post, so much information and a lot to take in. It important for our health - and our children's health! I agree - simple, whole food and knowledge!